It’s Back

I’m in tears right now. A few years ago I deleted this blog. I was 100% sure I was done blogging about cults and dealing with Internet hate.

In truth, I was done with so much: politics, hateful comments, and people stealing my goddamned intellectual property without crediting me or asking.

But after deleting the site, I had some regrets. As a writer I felt a twinge of guilt deleting 512 posts. Let’s say each averages 700 words. That’s 358,400 words GONE. That’s the equivalent to several books, although truth be told, just because it’s the length of a book doesn’t mean it needs to be a book.

So recently I’ve been writing a lot more. (You can find out why I quit blogging and just recently returned to writing here on my Huffington Post blog.) And I started telling people, “Oh yeah, I blogged at My Cult Life for years.” They’d ask for the link. I didn’t have one. I deleted the site and it was redirecting elsewhere.

I started feeling like I might have made a huge mistake. Here was all this history – about me, about my writing, about my research – and it was gone.

The problem is that I’m somewhat tech savvy but the minute I regretted it (almost after it was gone) I didn’t know how to restore it. I didn’t even mean to delete the site. That was an accident. One shouldn’t mess with her files if one isn’t sure what she can delete and can’t without losing all her content.

I had backups but they were in SQL not WXR. I didn’t know how to convert them and Bluehost isn’t what it used to be as far as helping inexperienced people like me. I couldn’t find any information online except to go into phpMyAdmin (which could wreck my whole site if I messed it up), create a new database (which I was clueless about), and upload it. Then what? It took several hours before I figured out how to edit some files and it was actually quite simple from there.

But this trial and error process took two days and a lot of frustration. Even an XML or CSV conversion using plugins weren’t working so well and the pro versions were pricey.

Thank goodness I’m persistent. I saved myself some money and look…the blog is back!

Now you’ll notice that my photos aren’t uploaded and that means there’s a lot of broken images. Images that are broken in 512 posts, so bear with me as I fix them or delete them.

Also, you’ll notice that I no longer blog at www.lisakerr.net. I’ll remove those links with time, as well. I do have another blog called www.storiesintheend.com, which has some new writing, but we’ll see if that’s necessary to keep since I have this one.

Anyway, I hope you’ve been well and I’ve missed you all!

Drop me a line. Say hello.

Cheers,

Lisa

The Royal Wedding, as Only Tosh.0 Can Show Us

My co-worker and I were scrolling through The Royal Wedding pictures earlier this morning to have a look (or in her case, a second look) at Kate Middleton’s wedding gown. We stopped on this picture of the first kiss, noticing the little kid at the bottom.

Tosh.0 says,

“The Royal Wedding Happened…And this child was forced to be there.

Always a bridesmaid, never a princess. I feel your pain, sister.”

More funny commentary here: http://www.thehighdefinite.com/2011/04/the-royal-wedding-happened/

 

Have you joined My Cult Life Talk? We’re a community of people focused on recovering from cults and educating others about them.

My Tragic Love Story, Part 2

Men and women could not, under any circumstances, develop a romantic relationship in the ministry group that I was in. So even though Tool and I liked each other, we could not date.

I was on staff at a ministry training school in a small, bayou-surrounded Louisiana town.  At that time, I had been serving with the same pastors for around five years. Our entire staff and some students had moved from Austin, Texas in 2003 to begin a new school at the church in Louisiana.

In 2004, I met “Tool” (the guy who claimed he was in love with me). Our friendship was a love-hate relationship from the beginning. He had a real problem with women and I was his superior in the hierarchy that was our church. I later learned that the Tool had plenty of childhood and family issues that made him the jerk that he was. After our friendship developed for a year, I started developing feelings for the Tool and he fell for me.

Men and women could not, under any circumstances, develop a romantic relationship in the ministry group that I was in. So even though Tool and I liked each other, we could not date. I was 24 years old and he was around 23 years old at the time.

The steps we had to take to date were lengthy and involved male-initiated leadership. It was taught by our pastors that the man in the relationship had to initiate everything relating to a dating relationship or courtship. That man also had to ask our pastor permission to date the girl of his dreams.

And that pastor had to approve.

For Tool, these were not easy steps.

Patti Smith/Dave Eggers LA Times Festival of Books Panel

They’re both having a great conversation about writing memoirs. Love it. I’ve had the good chills the whole talk.

 

Notable Quotes from the day: “Books are not to be used for vengeance…write about the person holistically.” Patti Smith

“I’ve realized the permanence of books.” Dave Eggers

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Thirty and Not Married!

I took this weird, winding road to where I am now.

I’m thirty years old.

I’m unmarried.

I don’t have children.

Ending up in Master’s Commission for seven years threw a kink in the “normal” life, if you will. A lot of people end up attending college after high school, falling in love with someone, getting to work on a career and having some kids.

Not me.

I took this weird, winding road to where I am now.

I’m thirty years old.

I’m unmarried.

I don’t have children.

I’m two classes away from a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

What really got to me for years?

I wasn’t married! All my friends were getting married except for me. I’d been a bridesmaid about five times (or more…I have enough crappy dresses to prove it). Now, going on 3-0, it’s actually not as huge of a deal to me as it was when I was 24. (Though my current boyfriend might argue with me here. =P Love you, babe)

Why?

My dating life has gone through a radical change.

 

This Tract Will Save Your Soul

Back in the days of Master’s Commission of Austin, we used to pass out these tracts by Chick Publications. You know the ones–they’re plainly designed cartoon tracts.

We had this big production called Hells Alternative, where I played this girl who chose a life without God and I entered Hell after the rapture. My friends Sean and Jeremy played two demons who dragged me to hell and tortured me, while my friend Brent played Satan. Satan captured my soul and I screamed bloody murder, “Hell is real…Hell is real…” as I was sucked into Hell’s gates.

At the end of this production, we’d scared a few dozen people into accepting Christ, and we’d often pass out these tracts or have something like this available. When we ministered on the streets of Austin, we had a pack of these tracts available to share with people.

Tonight, I stumbled upon this website for Active Hate Groups in the United States. Many of them are Neo-Nazi groups, others are like the Westboro Baptist Church. I wandered through some of the names to see if any of the ministries I knew or had worked with would be on the list. Oddly enough, Chick Publications (the makers of Chick Tracts), is registered as a General Hate group.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center: “These groups espouse a variety of rather unique hateful doctrines and beliefs…This list includes a “Jewish” group that is rabidly anti-Arab, a “Christian” group that is anti-Catholic and a polygamous “Mormon” breakaway sect that is racist. Many of the groups are vendors that sell a miscellany of hate materials from several different sectors of the white supremacist movement.”

More information can be found here.

My Tragic Love Story, The Final Chapter

The steps the pastor required for a man to date a woman in the discipleship training program was like a maze. These weren’t easy for the Tool, but I saw this jerk-for-a-boy turn into a vulnerable, trusting man as he tried to do what was required of him. It wasn’t his fault that these insurmountable rules had been set up before him, preventing him from dating. It also wasn’t his fault that I was extremely hot and intelligent—so much so that his own best friend wanted to date me, too.

The pastor that Tool had to approach was egotistical and had a huge God-complex. It was either his way or the highway. That was not something he learned from God—it was just something he flaunted due to his own insecurities. Tool didn’t know that the pastor didn’t respect him at all and constantly told me that he wasn’t good enough for me. He’d list the reasons one-by-one, and sadly, some of them were true: he wasn’t from a good home, he probably wouldn’t make a good pastor, he was rebellious, and he didn’t treat women well.

What pissed me off was not that Tool was right or wrong for me, but that someone ELSE was interfering in my love life at the age of 24 years old! Not only was this pastor making suggestions, he was out-right making my decisions for me. He was attempting to think for me, and teach me that his way of thinking was right and that there were no other options but how he thought.

The Cult of Celebrity

My Religious Studies professor used to always say that we Americans were obsessed with celebrities. He called it the “Cult of Celebrity.”

It’s true. We follow celebrities on Twitter, Facebook, and on television. We even have a network that makes billions of dollars just following them. That network is E! Entertainment.

Ironically, E! is one of my favorite channels. I love it. I’m not a huge fan of E! News, but I watch let the TV play and it usually comes on.

I’d never realized just how obsessed with celebrities we all are (yeah, I know…I’m kind of slow) until tonight when they showed one of their top stories: Gisele Bundchen in a bikini.

Really, E!? Really?

One of the top stories was that a Victoria’s Secret model is in a bikini in her home country, Brazil? What’s creepier than that being the top story? Some creeper sat around, hiding behind these bushes until she came outside dressed for the beach.

Leave the chick alone, photogs!

If I End Up Single…

If C and I break up, here’s my plan:

1. Send off my book proposal in the next year.

2. Raise my Credit Score.

3. Get a book deal.

4. Buy a house.

5. Have a baby.

 

All of those are pretty much the same “plans” but I wasn’t going to have a baby so soon. However, my clock is ticking and I really don’t see the point in waiting–especially if I’m not dating anyone.

 

Have you joined My Cult Life Talk? We’re a community of people focused on recovering from cults and educating others about them.